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4 Lessons in Content Creation from 6 Fortune 500 Companies

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Content creation and marketing are the lifeblood of many companies. They successfully raise search rankings and improve the online presence of a brand through digital marketing.

It’s not always easy to get it right, though. The competition is fierce, and at times you can feel overwhelmed by how much further you have to go.

When that happens, don’t feel discouraged! Instead, look at some of the Fortune 500 companies that went from startup to wildly successful, thanks to their focus on content. They found success through well-worded and promoted content, and you can too!

To highlight the success of some of these organizations, the digital marketing company Single Grain, which has helped dozens of startups and Fortune 500 organizations to find reach success in content creation, ran an analysis of some of the top digital marketing campaigns on the Internet.

A strong emphasis on content creation was a key goal in their findings. Here’s what they found.

Mint: Spend the Time and Money on Quality Content

The niche of personal finance is terribly crowded, but Mint found a way to rise to the top. Not only did it develop a useful financial tracking tool that consumers loved, but Mint also put a lot of emphasis on the content it circulated.

“Mint committed to publishing hundreds of high-quality content pieces — from informative blog posts to viral attention-grabbing infographics,” says Eric Siu, co-founder of Single Grain. “As the result of its digital marketing efforts, the tool gained a massive online following before being sold to Intuit for a whopping $170 million.”

The biggest lesson was that although content creation and marketing can seem expensive and time-consuming, it can be worth every penny and every minute you put in. That’s what it takes to create high-quality content that will stand out from your competitors.

American Express: Allow User-Generated Sources

The credit card company American Express built a foundation not just on its services, but also on an information-sharing platform. The firm’s Open Forum website is a collaborative platform that allows guest authors to share insights and ideas about anything financial.

This content successfully raised American Express search rankings and branded it as a thought leader in the financial industry. Allowing collaboration on its site gives the firm free content, but it won’t accept every guest post.

Editors screen submissions carefully to make sure they meet preset quality standards. The site manages to maintain a high domain authority in this way. As a result, it’s at the top of search engines for financial and credit-related queries, and the business has managed to build a highly reputable brand.

The takeaway according to Siu is, “Good content marketing strategies draw on a range of user-generated sources to both grow online communities and minimize financial investment.”

Zappos: Make Your Content Measurable

The apparel site Zappos keeps its website content fresh, fun, and inviting with a diverse blog that appeals to the target audience. Blog categories are varied and run from company culture, lifestyle, charity events, and design ideas to style recommendations, weddings, and so much more.

There’s something for everyone on these pages, as is the case with the Zappos product catalog. The content creation is all paid for by Zappos, but the company is very intelligent about it.

It makes sure that the firm’s income is enough to sustain the content creation and that its online marketing is highly targeted so as to be as effective as possible. Zappos makes more money off of its content than it puts into it.

“Content marketing is the way of the future, but it must be managed appropriately to be effective,” says Siu, referring to the firm’s highly targeted content creation platform. “Online content marketing campaigns should strive to produce measurable results in proportion to the resources committed to them.”

Dollar Shave Club: Have Some Fun!

All the content on the Dollar Shave Club’s site, from the landing pages to the company’s video ads and blog posts, is entertaining and highly targeted to the firm’s audience.

The startup is one of the first subscription box services, which means it had a fresh idea designed for younger people. Dollar Shave decided to embrace this rather than try to fit the same serious, sexy, or corporate appeal of previously famous razor companies such as Gillette.

The firm took the challenge of content creation and allowed its personality to shine while answering the kinds of questions young men have wanted to know, such as: “Is it Bad to Pluck Nose Hairs with My Fingers?” and “Do I really Need to Wash My Hands After I Pee?”

“Don’t be afraid to have some fun! DSC doesn’t take itself too seriously (or at all seriously, for that matter),” says Siu to characterize the main takeaway from Dollar Shave’s content marketing campaigns. “They’ve made something as tedious as buying razors and shaving hilarious and entertaining. And that’s what stands out in people’s minds.”

Konica Minolta: Infuse the Content with Thought Leadership

Konica Minolta regularly calls on its executives to pen their own content for the company’s Business Innovation Center blog. It’s been a way to propel the company’s position as a thought leader in its industry and it can do the same for other companies that opt to include personal insights from their team. This approach to blogging also creates a more personable image for the company and humanizes the brand.

“We’ve received more positive feedback from the blog posts that my colleagues and I have posted and provided a way to put a face to our thought leadership position in innovation and technology,” states Ekta Sahasi, Vice President, Business Innovation Center North America.

Insightly: Create Separate Sections for Tips and Product News

So many blogs mix their product news and content that toots their own horn with the helpful advice-focused content. That leaves blog readers with the task of sifting through the product and company news that may not be their focus in order to scroll to the tips they are seeking.

You don’t want your blog readers to become frustrated. Instead, Insightly separates these two main functions of their blog with a clear menu selection as though there are two or more separate blogs. That way, if a reader wants to find tips, they can be connected to that valuable content in seconds. Plus, if they are really interested, they can click on the other area that offers company and promotional information.

Content creation should represent your personality while fitting in line with your company goals. Take it from the above organizations, which went from startup to wildly successful. Be consistent with your quality content, and you too could eventually be held to the same high standard.

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Do You Need to Make a Huge Blogging Shift?

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Sometimes, you get bogged down with your blogging routine. Routines feel comfortable, right?

But blogging is a feeling game like life is a feeling game. All flows based on your emotions. If you feel really good – first – then you take good feeling blogging actions and over time, with patience and trust, see good feeling blogging results.

Unfortunately, most humans give almost zero thought to their emotions before diving in to a blogging routine. Bloggers believe you need to do something or follow a set routine to succeed, to drive traffic, and to make money. Day after day, year after year, most bloggers follow a routine without giving zero thought to how they are feeling, if they enjoy blogging, if they have fun following the routine, and if they feel detached, patient and trusting in the process.

This is the only reason why as of about 7 years ago, 80% of bloggers never made more than $100 during their blogging careers. If 8 out of 10 humans can not make $100 through blogging over 1, 2, 5 or 10 years, 8 out of 10 bloggers clearly give zero thought to their feelings BEFORE blogging. Feel bad, and you see no money. But those 2 out of 10 bloggers who feel really good make lots of money over the long haul.

Shift

Maybe it is time to make a shift, guys.

2-3 months ago I made one shift. 1 month ago I made an even bigger shift; quite huge, for me. But what I did differently made almost zero difference. How I chose to feel marked the big shift, then, I moved into different blogging actions.

For example, I faced some deep fears, felt the fears, and instantly, after feeling pretty crappy for a short time, I felt better and better. Choosing to face fear, clear it, and feel better, helped me see things clearly. I tired of my blogging schedule, my social sharing groups, blog commenting and heavy cross promotion. In truth, I hated it. I did have some fun with each for a while but the passion long left me. Since how you feel before and while you blog means everything, my mindset-feeling shift told me I’d have so much fun guest posting. So as of about 3-4 weeks ago – maybe less – all I do is guest posting because I have fun guest posting and guest posting comes easily to me.

Making the shift involved facing deep fears of failure, loss and struggle. I had to feel the fear of letting go lifeless activities for me – at the time – to clear out the fear, and properly release these strategies, and to move forward so I could feel good, then, decide what blogging actions would feel fun and easy and enjoyable to me.

All shifts happen emotionally first, by your choice. After feeling some muck and then feeling better, you clearly and intuitively feel through the next fun-feeling, enjoyable step.

What About You?

Do you need to make any shifts with your blogging campaign? Or do you need to make one big, sweeping, all-encompassing shift?

Getting caught up in blogging routines feels comfortable, familiar and safe, sometimes. But do you feel good before you begin the routine? Do you feel good working the routine? Do you feel detached, relaxed, trusting and like you are cared for, and prospering, while following your blogging routine?

Be honest to make a necessary shift. If you love following your routine, cool. Proceed. But most humans are taught – me included – to follow some routine (no matter how you feel) to get something, specifically money, so you can avoid failure, struggle, poverty, going hungry, illness, and embarrassment. This is exactly why most humans work jobs. Follow a routine to get money even if you feel really bad or terrible following the work-routine; aka, even if you hate your job and it feels lifeless, or soul-less.

May be time for a big shift guys.

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Why Comedians Teach You a Powerful Blogging Lesson

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Last night I saw a funny comedian perform in Atlantic City.

Chris Delia charmed the audience with his silly, somewhat absurd, level of humor.

He also explained how comedians need thick skin to become successful. Humor is a very personal, subjective topic. Some people find some comedians hysterical but never laugh at other comedians. As you imagine, bombing feels terrible to most comedians. At least until they develop a thick skin.

I once read how Kevin Hart often waited until 1 AM to work an open mic. Sometimes he waited until 1 AM and the place closed down so he never got the chance to do his set. Imagine how thick-skinned you need to be to not let that bother you? Is it any wonder why he is now worth $150 million? He became immune to criticism, failure and rejection. As a matter of fact, after developing a thick skin, he likely did not see criticism, failure or rejection.

All those evenings of 1 AM sets in front of 1-2 lifeless people or all those nights of being told to go home at 1 AM after waiting for hours to do his act purged the fear of criticism, failure and rejection from his being. Void of these fears, he rose up to being one of the most famous, wealthy and powerful comedians on earth.

Bloggers Need Thick Skin

I once promoted a course to the tune of 8000 page views before I sold one copy. Did I quit promoting the course? No. I developed a thick skin during the process. I did not see 8000 rejections. I only saw meeting and helping more human beings through my blog. Even during moments when I felt like giving up I trusted in myself and believed in the blogging process. Quitting and failure were no options for me. But in the same vein, I needed to be thick skinned to see through criticism, rejection and failure.

I needed to be aware of opportunity amid the appearance of nobody reading my blog. Toss in being patient and persistent in helping folks during my most trying times and you have a pretty thick-skinned individual.

Do Not Care What People Think

Chris Delia shared how he could care less what people thought about him. He dressed down a few hecklers during the show.

Comedians succeed because they care less about what people think of their acts; being heckled, ignored or criticized had nothing to do with their belief in self and their belief in their comedic style.

As a blogger, give no thought to what people think of you. Guess what? You cannot control your reputation. No matter how long and hard you work in life to maintain a positive reputation, you can never physically control what people think of you. I am largely a nice guy 99.99% of the time yet some people genuinely hate me. I cannot control their demons. Plus I know we see the world as we see ourselves so if someone hates themselves I cannot do anything about that self-loathing.

Focus on yourself. Focus on what you think about yourself because this is the only thing that matters. Being comfortable in your own skin aligns you with loving, loyal followers who appreciate you for who you are. Let go everybody else. Critics form an energetic yoke if you care about their thoughts but dissolve into thin air when you could care less about what they think of you.

Bloggers become successful because these few folks who have thick skins shine brightly in a world of thin-skinned bloggers who fear criticism, judgment and rejection. The few who step it up do wonders because we all want a piece of free spirits who march to the beat of their own drum without caring what people think, say or do, in response or reaction to them simply being themselves.

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Do You Have an Exit Plan for Your Blog?

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This past week I ceased sharing posts in blogging tribes.

I finally got it; I joined tribes because I feared unless I shared other blogger content, nobody would read my content. I feared if nobody shared my content, nobody reads my content, and I needed to share other blogger content to effectively influence bloggers and people to share mine. Ouch.

As you can imagine, I put in many long, hard hours working a job, NEEDING to be online to succeed with my blog. Rewind. Working a job. Did you see this phrase? I worked a job. I needed to be online to succeed. Largely, at least. Does that sound like a business owner to you? Does that sound like leveraging? Sure I drive some passive traffic and profits to my blog but being honest, I largely worked a job and had a job for much of my 10 years online, and I did not have a pure business so I could step away from my blog and business for months, at a time. Or, forever.

Exit Plan

I have more of an exit plan now. I have a blogging business. I am writing my tail off to be in as many spots as possible without relying on sharing tribes and other groups that require me to be online, to social share posts, so other people can social share my posts, so I get traffic and profits. I began to think; what am I doing? I mean, if you love joining social sharing tribes, do it. Nice friendship builder. But you need to have some exit plan with your business and need to see how you can step away one day so it is about a 100% passive income machine – or, so you can sell it at a tidy profit – in order for you to be a free entrepreneur, versus a bound employee.

Think Leveraging

I am having so much fun writing blog posts and guest posts daily. Plus it is easy peasy. Every piece of content is forever, unless all these blogs vanish or get closed out by all these bloggers. Fat chance. Plus I can drive to Atlantic City today with my wife and enjoy a show this afternoon into evening and my business will still grow from a heavy passive element. Even though I am online writing this morning, all my blog posts and guest posts serve as a passive promotional army for the Blogging From Paradise blog and brand.

Imagine me trying to social share other blogger posts as I am driving down the Parkway? Not happening.

Networking Rocks

Network. Have fun making friends. Build a rock solid foundation for your blog. But eventually, evolve into someone who leverages your presence so you work a business, not a job. Any strategy 100% dependent on you being online, sharing blogger content so other bloggers share your content and boost your success, is a job, not a business, because you are tied to the online world and have no exit strategy, and a light passive element to your blogging business.

Gradually place less emphasis on networking online. Focus on purely passive elements, like writing more blog posts and guest posts, which last forever. Humans change, quit, fail, change tastes; you never want to be at the mercy of the fickle human beast. Unless all blogs close down, all of those blog posts and guest posts you wrote are pretty much forever.

Focusing a bit more on things – things helping people – helps you leverage your blog and business powerfully so you can make an exit plan and step away from your blogging business for 1, 2 or 3 months. I know bloggers who take vacations for months; everything keeps growing money-wise because they leverage, and are not dependent on people for cash flow, because their system creates the cash flow.

Trust in the process plays a big role too.

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